2/3/14, Half Full
It’s been one of those whirlwind weeks when everything rushes past me, or seems to, like an express train, and carries me along. Some weeks are like that, and this one was a microcosm of my life. Sometimes, life is quiet, and I wish something interesting would happen, this wasn’t one of those. We all have boring times, and quiet times we enjoy, busy times that can be fun, and other times when it feels like the balls are being pitched at you faster than you can hit them, or even see them before they hit you.
Most of the time, my life is pretty ordinary, I worry about my kids, my dogs, help the kids solve small problems when I can, some piece of machinery not working (a projector in my daughter’s apartment this week), my dogs had an eye problem and I took them to the vet. I went to the ‘reweaving’ place in Paris to get something torn repaired. My refrigerator sounded like a 747 was landing on it or about to take off, so I went to look at new refrigerators, and wound up having the current one repaired for $40.00, a MUCH better solution. So I do the same boring stuff everyone else does. I have the same worries as most people, the same challenges in a day’s time, car repairs, trips to the dentist, concerns about my kids. And then added to that are the things that come with fame, the headaches, sometimes the threats, and also the opportunities, and even some very fun stuff. So along with the refrigerator shopping and repair, I got to go to two gorgeous fashion shows this week, (which I wrote a blog about, the shows were at Dior and Chanel), and there is no question, events like that are exceptional and dazzling and special (but despite that, my fridge still goes out of whack, my fridge does NOT care if I’m famous or not. And I still go to the vet and the dry cleaner). And the fun part of fame is great. I also got to go to Prada, and see some clothes before they put them in the store, and that was really fun too. On the less fun side of fame, there were a series of very nasty articles about me in the San Francisco press, that the journalist who wrote them thought the hedge around my house in San Francisco is too tall. And I did something I never do, I wrote an Op Ed/letter to the editor in response, but the articles were just too mean spirited not to speak up. In a world so full of real problems, starving people, people out of work, children in jeopardy, the economy tough—-does anyone really care about my hedge? I had to speak up, and the response to my letter to the editor has been kind, supportive, and warm. I’m glad I spoke up.
In Paris this week, I had a problem with a neighbor who borrowed an apartment above the one where I live, and invited 300 people to a party, who invaded the building halls and rang my doorbell all night. She was selling furniture out of her apartment, which is illegal. So I had to deal with her, the building owner, my lawyer and eventually the police. Things have finally calmed down but it was time consuming and a pain in the neck. I had a great ‘girls’ dinner one night with 3 wonderful women friends. And dinner with 2 men friends a few nights before that. I enjoyed time with my daughter while she spent a few days with me, and came to work. I had some lovely conversations with some of my other children, and some not so lovely conversations with some of the others. I had business stresses and some disappointments, and some disappointing conversations with other people, and a minor disagreement with a friend over something ridiculously stupid. And I’ve been busy getting ready for the ceremony and reception for the award I’m getting in France, the Legion of Honor, which is a huge honor in France. So I met with the florist, the restaurant, was given the medal by a friend, which an official will pin on me. The medal is gorgeous. And I met with the man who will do the official ceremony, to discuss his speech, and mine (and I am terrified of giving speeches). And in between all that, I answered work emails, and talked to my editor about some work I’m doing. It was a chock full, insanely busy week. It didn’t seem that way when it started, but by the end of the week, my days felt like an overstuffed sausage ready to burst. One thing added to another, both special events, and ordinary ones, some headaches and problems to solve, the disappointments I mentioned that made my heart ache. By the end of the week, I was exhausted, and it all felt like too much, and it got me down.
There is no question, I have a big life. Not in the sense that it’s so important, and a lot of it isn’t. But there is a lot in it. I have many children whom I love and worry about, I work very hard and write a lot of books, I live in 2 cities six thousand miles apart which is sometimes hard to manage, I have employees I care about, obligations to my publisher, dogs I love, and the usual machinery that breaks and falls apart. Just having 8 kids, even as young adults, is a full time job. And when you add the rest to it, it’s a lot. When all is going smoothly, it is an enviable life. When it’s not, it can really be overwhelming at times. And problems are like grapes, they always seem to come in bunches, often about things you really care about or that impact your life. And you can’t control what’s going to happen. When the ‘shit hits the fan’, you have to deal with it, before you get buried in it, and that’s not a lot of fun. So between the fashion shows in Paris, and advance peek at clothes collections, I’m dealing with some real stuff too, very real, that can be very upsetting at times. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my kids, our big family, the work I do no matter how pressured it gets at times or the demands it puts on me, and living in 2 cities which adds a lot of joy to my life. And I love my friends. And my dogs of course.
By the end of the week, I looked at all I’d done and the things that had happened, and my head was spinning. And when I focused on the disappointments (and there were more than a few big ones this week), and the problems (also a few too many), my spirits sank and I decided that the glass was half full, or maybe even less than that. I spent a couple of nights ‘eating worms’ as they say, when you feel sorry for yourself, and I confess that I did. And I was tired too. And the problems and disappointments broadsided me, I hadn’t expected them. And then with a little more calm, I looked at the good things that had happened this week, there were a lot of those too. My daughter’s visit, the problems I was able to solve (not all, but a few), the children who called me and were really sweet to me, the friends who are there for me, the award that I’ll be getting, which acknowledges my hard work, the praise of my editor, and the two nice evenings I spent with friends. It’s the same for all of us. Sometimes life hands you some really awful things to deal with, the death of loved ones, or loss of health, or the loss of jobs you need to support your family, the money you need to live on, or something terrible happening to a child. And some things can’t be fixed. But in our everyday lives, with most occurrences, we have a choice as to whether we see the glass half empty or half full. By week’s end, I had no question about it, I was convinced the glass was even less than half full. But was it really?? When I took a closer look, I realized it was actually half full, and I could see it either way. Half empty or half full??? I had just as many problems to deal with, but seeing it as half full seemed like a much better choice. I can’t always do that, and sometimes seeing it negatively is the easier choice. But seeing it as half full was the better choice, and it was equally true, and made me feel a lot better. It was a good reminder to me to count my blessings, and I have many…..so report from the front from me: the glass is half full. I hope yours is too!!!
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If the worst word someone called me was a “snob” and that my front hedge was too high, I’d think I lived a pretty good life.
If I were you, I’d stand up and scream as loud as I could, “I make my own money-nobody gave it to me, get over it.”
Don’t let the jerks get you down.
Hi Daniele, I just wanted to reply to your latest post and say that I have always admired your strength in dealing with your sons death and publishing a book about him that I’m certain has helped many people or families who are coping with mental illness. I was in high school when I read it andit had a positive impact on my life. I think it is important and you have stressed that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of and society should viewe it in the same way they view cancer and treat it with the same urgency, dignity and respect. So these days my glass is definantly half full:)